Facilitation Technique: Validation

A poster for validation reads, "We hear you."Validation is when the facilitator acknowledges the validity of a participant’s position. The facilitator is not necessarily endorsing the viewpoint, but simply recognizing that the viewpoint is reasonable and understandable for the participant to hold.

It can be tricky for a facilitator to acknowledge thoughts of participants and help them feel heard without agreeing with what the participant is saying. Validation takes practice and can help earn the trust of your team when done well.

When To Use Validation

Use validation in situations where it is important to remain neutral, especially when you may not agree with what participants are saying. It is also helpful during times of conflict where the facilitator must not appear to take sides.

The goal of validation is for participants to feel understood and for the facilitator to remain impartial.


In this scenario, a scrum master is facilitating a sprint retrospective. A product owner shares their opinion that retrospectives are a waste of time.

Product Owner: Retros are completely unnecessary. We have real work to do.

Scrum Master: I hear what you’re saying. It’s important to you that we focus on our product. It can be hard to take time away from that to do a retro.

Product Owner: Do you understand the pressure we’re under? These retros are wasting time.

Scrum Master: I do understand the pressure our team’s under. Especially you as the product owner. You’re on the front lines feeling all of that. I know there were some misunderstanding this sprint. Do you have any ideas for how we can improve next sprint?

The Agile Learning Labs Players Demonstrate Validation


Form groups of two to three people. One person will take the role of facilitator, one will be the participant, and others can observe and provide feedback.

  1. The participant starts by voicing an opinion that they feel strongly about and sharing a bit about why they hold that opinion.
  2. Next, the facilitator validates the person’s opinion while neither agreeing or disagreeing with it.
  3. Continue practicing validation for one minute.
  4. At the end of one minute, the participant and observers provide feedback to the facilitator.

Rotate roles to allow everyone to practice as facilitator, participant, and observer.


Share it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *